The real estate investment trust Link REIT has not talked with the government about repurchasing shares in the group but welcomes anyone who wants to purchase to do so, Lo Bing-chung, its director of Corporate Communications, said on Wednesday. The company held a shareholders’ meeting in the morning.

Before the meeting, around 50 protesters protested outside the venue, asking the government to repurchase property owned by the group. Link REIT is often criticised for running public property sold to them by the government as investments without being accountable to the public.

Link REIT representatives. Lo Bing-chung is on the left.

Lo told reporters that the group is still reviewing the process and conditions for selling property and exploring how to solve the legal problems involved.

Both Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam said in June that the government had no plans to repurchase shares in the group.

‘Sucking blood’

A dozen groups, including Link REIT watchdog The Linkwatch and pro-democracy party the League of Social Democrats, called out slogans during the protest. They held signs which said Link REIT was “sucking blood” and that the investment trust had  “no credibility.” Some went into the meeting as shareholders to protest, but were taken away by security guards.

Protesters outside the venue.

They expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that there were many empty stores on Link REIT-owned property.

Lo said the problem of empty stores was caused by there being no people. “Especially [property] without air conditioning, at locations that are relatively far away, and without a good selection of stock – they become very difficult to operate. We have to renovate and revitalise… the most important thing is to attract people,” said Lo.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.